Some favourite lines from my favourite books:

The Code Book by Simon Singh

Says Hellman: ... You have idea number 1, you get excited, and it flops. Then you have idea number 2, you get excited, and it flops. Then you have idea number 99, you get excited, and it flops. Only a fool would be excited by the 100th idea, but it might take 100 ideas before one really pays off. Unless you're foolish enough to be continually excited, you won't have the motivation, you won't have the energy to carry it through. God rewards the fools.

Applied Cryptography by Bruce Schneier

Those who claim to have an unbreakable cipher simply because they can't break it are either geniuses or fools. Unfortunately, there are more of the latter in the world.

The Music of the Primes by Marcus du Sautoy

But for Grothendieck this was not abstraction for abstraction's sake. In his view this was a revolution that was necessitated by the questions that mathematics was trying to answer. He wrote volume after volume describing this new language. Grothendieck's vision was messianic, and he began to attract a following of faithful young disciples. His output was huge, covering some ten thousand pages. When a visitor complained at the poor state of the library at the Institut, he replied, 'We don't read books here, we write them'.

Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh

Wile's colleague Ken Ribet had no such qualms: 'It was a completely remarkable event. I mean, you go to a conference and there are some routine lectures, there are some good lectures and there are some very special lectures, but it's only once in a lifetime that you get a lecture where someone claims to solve a problem that has endured for 350 years. People were looking at each other and saying, "My God, you know we've just witnessed an historical event." ...

The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan by Robert Kanigel

Ramanujan had lost all his scholarships. He had failed in school. Even as a tutor of the subject he loved most, he'd been found wanting. He had nothing. And yet, viewed differently, he had everything. For now there was nothing to distract him from his notebooks - notebooks, crammed with theorems, that each day, each week, bulged wider.

The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, the World's Most Astonishing Number by Mario Livio

Mathematics appears at first glance to be just too effective. In Einstein's own words: "How is it possible that mathematics, a product of human thought that is independent of experience, fits so excellently the objects of physical reality?"

2 comments

Manreet said:

Enjoyed reading it! Cheers!

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